A Guide to Private Equity Hiring in 2024

Dec 26, 2023

A Guide to Private Equity Hiring in 2024

2023 has been a year of unexpected twists and turns for private equity hiring, with major players like Blackstone, KKR, and TPG shaking up the industry’s talent landscape. Here’s a glimpse into the whirlwind ride:

Global Slowdown, Unexpected Opportunities:

    • Growth Equity’s Spotlight: Amidst global economic headwinds, growth equity and value-added strategies took center stage. Blackstone launched a dedicated growth equity fund, poaching tech-savvy executives from Silicon Valley to drive these initiatives.
    • CIO Shuffle: The hunt for Chief Investment Officers intensified as experienced leaders sought new challenges, signaling the allure of smaller, agile funds.

ESG Stampede and Diversity Drive:

    • Impact Investment’s Rise: Investors increasingly demanded both financial returns and positive impact, fueling a surge in ESG-focused hiring. KKR’s Global Impact team expanded rapidly, seeking talent with expertise in sustainability and social impact measurement.
    • Diversity Imperative: Firms actively pursued candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives. Blackstone’s CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, publicly committed to doubling the representation of women and minorities in senior roles by 2025.

Rising Stars and Scrappy Challengers:

    • Mid-Market Muscle: Nimble mid-market funds and regional powerhouses like Ares Management and Thoma Bravo challenged traditional Wall Street giants, offering autonomy and career growth opportunities to rising stars.
    • Innovative Upstarts: Firms like EQT Exeter and Nordea, focused on sustainability and impact investing, attracted talent seeking to make a difference beyond pure financial gains.

2023: A Year of Reinvention

Private equity hiring in 2023 has been a story of adaptation, resilience, and embracing fresh approaches. The old rules have been rewritten, with firms prioritizing agility, diversity, and a willingness to break the mold. As we move forward, those who embrace these shifts will be best positioned to ride the waves of change and build the future of this dynamic industry.

The private equity industry pulsates with ambition, fueled by sharp minds and cutthroat competition. It’s a world where finding the right talent isn’t a luxury, it’s a lifeline. 

Understanding the Ecosystem:

Before dissecting talent, let’s dissect the landscape. Private equity isn’t monolithic. From global behemoths like Blackstone and KKR to nimble, sector-focused funds, each player demands a unique blend of skills and experiences. Understanding their investment strategies, portfolio composition, and culture is crucial for identifying the right candidates.

The Holy Grail: Skillsets for Success:

Private equity veterans aren’t just dealmakers; they’re strategists, financiers, and operational wizards rolled into one. Look for individuals with:

    • Technical Prowess: Financial modeling, valuation, investment analysis – the numbers must sing.
    • Deal Execution Acumen: From origination to closing, they need to navigate complex transactions with laser focus.
    • Industry Expertise: Deep understanding of specific sectors provides a significant edge.
    • Leadership and Communication: Managing teams, inspiring portfolio companies, and captivating investors – charisma is key.
    • Data-Driven Decision Making: Analyzing mountains of data and extracting actionable insights is vital in an information-heavy industry.

Beyond the Resume: Assessing Hidden Gems:

The perfect resume doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit. Look for:

    • Intellectual Curiosity: A thirst for knowledge and staying ahead of the curve are essential.
    • Resilience and Tenacity: Private equity is a marathon, not a sprint. Grit and perseverance are non-negotiable.
    • Integrity and Ethical Compass: Trust is paramount. Look for individuals who consistently operate with the highest ethical standards.
    • Cultural Fit: Aligning with the firm’s values and environment is crucial for long-term success.

Building the Bridge: The Art of the Search:

The search itself is an art form. Here’s my recipe:

    • Network Deeply: Leverage your industry connections and build new ones. Referrals from trusted sources are gold.
    • Tap Hidden Pools: Target talent from diverse backgrounds and non-traditional sectors. Fresh perspectives can be game-changers.
    • Utilize Technology: Advanced search tools and AI can help identify hidden gems within vast databases.
    • Prioritize Transparency and Communication: Keep candidates informed throughout the process. Respect their time and decisions.

A Word on the Current Landscape:

The post-pandemic world has thrown curveballs at the industry. Increased automation and the rise of data-driven strategies are changing the talent landscape. Be prepared to adapt your search criteria and embrace new skillsets, such as expertise in AI and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) integration.

Hiring in private equity is not for the faint of heart. It demands a deep understanding of the industry, meticulous vetting, and a knack for unearthing hidden gems. But for those who embrace the challenge, the rewards are immense. Remember, it’s not just about finding the right talent; it’s about building the future of the industry itself.

So, whether you’re a seasoned investor seeking your next star player or a rising talent navigating the labyrinth, embrace the complexity, focus on the essentials, and remember – in the high-stakes world of private equity, the right hire can make all the difference.

Predicting the 2024 Private Equity Landscape


2024 promises to be a wild ride. With the US Fed signaling a potential reversal from rate hikes to cuts, the industry is poised for a significant shift. Here’s our expert analysis of what to expect:

Liquidity Floodgates Open:

    • Deal Flow Frenzy: Easier access to capital will unleash a surge in M&A activity, particularly in previously frozen sectors like consumer goods and technology. Look for established players like Blackstone and KKR to make bold moves, while mid-market funds like Ares Management and Thoma Bravo capitalize on undervalued targets.
    • Growth Equity Boom: Growth-focused strategies will gain further momentum, with firms like TPG’s growth equity fund hunting for promising startups and scale-ups. Expect increased competition for talent with tech expertise and data-driven acumen.

Impact Investing Takes Center Stage:

    • ESG Integration Deepens: The Fed’s pivot won’t dampen the ESG fire. Firms like KKR’s Global Impact team will continue to expand, seeking talent with expertise in sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and social impact measurement.
    • Diversity Dividends: The push for diversity will intensify, driven by both ethical imperatives and the proven financial benefits of diverse teams. Expect Blackstone’s commitment to be echoed by other major players, attracting top talent from underrepresented groups.

Reshuffling the Deck:

    • Talent Wars Escalate: As competition for talent heats up, expect firms to offer more compelling compensation packages, including performance-based bonuses and equity stakes. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives will gain prominence to retain existing talent and adapt to evolving needs.
    • Regional Powerhouses Emerge: The rise of regional hubs like Miami and Atlanta, offering lower costs and access to specific sectors, will attract both talent and capital. Look for firms like Golden Gate Capital in Los Angeles and Vista Equity Partners in Austin to make strategic moves.

Challenges and Opportunities:

    • Geopolitical Uncertainties: The ongoing war in Ukraine and potential global economic slowdowns could present unexpected challenges. However, some firms might see these as opportunities for distressed investment strategies or opportunistic acquisitions.
    • Technological Disruption: Continued advancements in AI and automation will reshape the industry, demanding talent with data analytics expertise and a willingness to embrace new technologies. Firms like EQT Exeter and Nordea, at the forefront of impact investing and tech integration, are well-positioned to thrive.

2024 promises to be a year of exciting transitions and dynamic shifts in the private equity landscape. With the Fed’s pivot fueling deal flow and growth strategies, firms embracing innovation, ESG integration, and a diverse talent pool will be the ones riding the highest waves of success.

For additional market perspective, feel free to reach out to Founding Partner, David McInnis: david.mcinnis@willardpowell.com

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David McInnis

President & Founding Partner

David has two decades of global recruitment experience and is Founding Partner of Willard Powell. Prior to founding Willard Powell, David worked with Leathwaite International, a global executive search firm. Before his employment with Leathwaite, David worked for Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities) supporting the firm’s Investment Banking & Capital Markets Technology group. David is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, MA, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems. David also serves as a Trustee on Lasell’s Board.